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Community Partners by Focus Area

The Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning has grouped community partners into fourteen focus areas. These focus areas align with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals and they are tailored to the specific needs of both Jackson County and the Western North Carolina Region.  To see the list of community partners under each focus area, simply click below on the name of the focus area.


Organization Name Organization Mission
Alzheimer's Association (WNC Chapter)

In North Carolina, more than 180,000 are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and over 356,000 family and friends are providing care.

Serving 49 central and western counties in North Carolina, the Alzheimer’s Association - Western Carolina Chapter is here to help. We provide education and support to all those facing Alzheimer’s and other dementias throughout our community, including those living with the disease, caregivers, health care professionals and families. We are also committed to advocating for the needs and rights of those facing Alzheimer’s disease and advancing critical research toward methods of treatment, prevention and, ultimately, a cure.

Autumn Care of Waynesville

A long-term aid facility for the elderly, Autumn Care provides one-on-one care, serving meals, and provides craft and exercise classes and special events services. Autumn Care also offers short-term rehabilitation services. Volunteers may help with Bingo, visit residents one-on-one, and assist with craft classes.

Project F.I.R.E.

Project F.I.R.E. (Fuel Intervention for Rural Elderly) is a heating assistance program that cuts, splits, and delivers firewood to elderly in need. This project is part of the Jackson County Department on Aging.

Skyland Care Center

Attentive care  in a home-like setting. You can rest assured that your loved one will receive superior quality care with us. As a part of our approach, we strive to ensure each resident, family  and staff member feel welcome in our home away from home.

Organization Name Organization Mission

ARF (Humane Society of Jackson County) is a network of foster parents, not a shelter. We keep animals in our homes for local adoption or transport, and that is our greatest need. 

However, we are always looking for other help–board members, fundraisers, web designers, social media people, publicists and writers and photographers for our newsletter, drivers, spay/neuter clinic staff, and more (we probably haven’t thought of all the things we need).

Organization Name Organization Mission

Rotary Club of Sylva

Rotary is an international service club that assists persons in need with a broad array of services. 
Organization Name Organization Mission

Westbridge Vocational

WestBridge Vocational is a social enterprise connecting people to opportunity through our quality-driven manufacturing. We are dedicated to empowering all people with barriers to employment by providing training opportunities that inspire them to learn, earn, and thrive in a world that may not understand their needs.

We support our mission mainly through the production of disposable medical devices such as surgical drapes and wraps. Our products are purchased by leading medical suppliers who rely on quality workmanship. 

Organization Name Organization Mission

AWAKE (Adults Working and Advocating for Kids’ Empowerment) Children’s Advocacy Center

Adults Working and Advocating for Kids' Empowerment is a nonprofit organization focused on advocating for victims of child abuse. AWAKE coordinates services for victims of child abuse in Jackson County. AWAKE provides a child friendly environment where the child and their families receive services and support. Our motivated, caring staff work vigorously on educating the community to recognize signs of child abuse while also helping them understand the importance of reporting abuse. 

Center for Domestic Peace

Center for Domestic Peace is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that takes a holistic, community focused approach towards ending interpersonal violence in Jackson County, North Carolina. Center for Domestic Peace provides a wide variety of services to those experiencing interpersonal violence in our community.

REACH of Macon County

The Mission of REACH of Macon County is to eradicate domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking crimes in Macon County, through prevention, intervention, and educational services.
Organization Name Organization Mission

Jackson County 4-H

4-H is a youth development organization devoted to helping youth ages 5-18 become responsible, productive citizens. This is accomplished through experiential learning opportunities in clubs, school-based programs and special interest activities.

Macon Program for Progress, Inc.

A nonprofit community action agency, MPP improves the standard of living for low-income families in Macon County. MPP seeks to provide services that help the whole family, including Head Start/Early Head Start/NC Pre-K, economic development opportunities, and community networking for families in need.

Main Street Sylva

MSA is a non-profit organization and is the driving force for a vital downtown business district. The MSA’s mission is to spur economic development in Downtown Sylva within the context of historic preservation. This is accomplished through the implementation of the National Main Street Center's Four Point Approach: Design, Organization, Promotion and Economic Restructuring.
Organization Name Organization Mission

77 Jackson Street After School Program

77 Jackson Street is a collaborative effort between Sylva First UMC and HIGHTS that offers a free community after school program for middle school students. The program consists of homework support, personal growth and skill building activities, and community experiences.

Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Western North Carolina, Inc./SYLVA

We believe that in each child there is a special spark that, when provided with inspiration and encouragement, will lead them to become a positive, productive citizen of our community and the world.

Cullowhee Valley School

Cullowhee Valley School is a PreK-8 rural school located in Jackson County, a mile from Western Carolina University.  We believe every child has unique qualities that make him or her an important part of a bigger story.  Therefore, our mission is to provide a learning environment that celebrates and supports the individual, grows an awareness of connections between self and others, and provides skills that open and expand visions of future opportunities.

Fairview School

Fairview School is a K through 8th school.


HIGHTS is a non-profit serving vulnerable youth and their families across the 7 most western counties of our state. Our name is an acronym that stands for Helping Inspire Gifts of Hope, Trust, and Service. HIGHTS continuum of care includes clinical mental health services, a workforce development and education program, skill building programs such as free after school groups and summer adventure camps, and a mentoring program.

Jackson Community School

Alternative middle and high school

Jackson County Public Library

While providing free access to books and other materials, the library also offers special educational and recreational programs for children and adults. The library has a computer lab, Wi-Fi, 3D Printer, Analog to Digital conversion equipment, eResources, telescope, etc.

Volunteers may assist with shelving, shelf reading, book repair, and youth and adult programming, as well as other special projects. They may also help as a technology mentor; assisting patrons learn basic computer skills.


NCCAT helps North Carolina teachers grow in knowledge, skills, compassion, and professionalism so that students become engaged, self-motivated, and successful. Open year round, the Center offers NC teachers the opportunity to attend week-long residential professional development sessions. 

Region A Partnership For Children

Region A Partnership for Children (RAPC) serves families in the seven westernmost NC counties (Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson Macon and Swain) and the Cherokee Indian Reservation. RAPC strives for regional and local collaboration among public, private and non-profit partners to build and maintain a comprehensive and integrated system of services for young children and their families. RAPC manages Smart Start, NC's early childhood initiative designed to ensure that young children enter school healthy and ready to succeed. Smart Start creates and supports high quality early care and education, health and family support services to promote integrated prevention and intervention for all children.

SCC Science Activation Program

The Science Activation program is a cooperative network of competitively-selected teams from across the Nation working with NASA infrastructure activities to to share NASA science with learners of all ages. SCC"s Science Activation Program offers STEM educational events for children, youth, and young adults.

Scott's Creek Elementary School

The After School Program serves grades K-6. Students engage in 30 minutes of assisted homework time. Later they participate in special activities including games, workshops, and art projects. Students also must participate in community service. Students also contribute time to the Community Table, and go on afternoon field trips.

Smokey Mountain Elementary School

Smokey Mountain Elementary School is a pre-K through 8th school with a diverse student body, including 47% Cherokee students. Tutors in reading and math and mentors to help build self-esteem are welcome. People who love the outdoors may be interested in helping with the school's environmental projects or Cherokee Challenge. CC is for 6th and 7th graders and meets weekly after school at a ropes course and other sites, as well as once a month on a weekend and during the summer for a 7- to 10-day-long camp. The GEAR UP program is for 7th through 9th graders to get started preparing for college. 

Smoky Mountain High School

Smoky Mountain High School has an After School Homework Club and a Peer Mediation Program. 

Smoky Mountain High School Marching Band


Organization Name Organization Mission

Environmental Action Community

Create opportunities to experience the outdoors, respond to climate challenges, and promote a resilient mountain environment.

Friends of Panthertown

The mission of Friends of Panthertown is to work in a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to conserve Panthertown as a backcountry natural resource and to enable sustainable recreation.

Mainspring Conservation Trust

Located in the heart of the Southern Blue Ridge, the mission of Mainspring Conservation Trust is to conserve the waters, forests, farms and heritage of the Upper Little Tennessee and Hiwassee River Valleys. We are dedicated to three core initiatives: conserve the land, restore the water, and connect the people to these valuable resources.


MountainTrue champions resilient forests, clean waters, and healthy communities in the Southern Blue Ridge.

Watershed Association of the Tuckasegee (WATR)

The Watershed Association of the Tuckasegee River (WATR) is a citizen-based group dedicated to the protection and enhancement of the health and quality of the Tuckasegee River and its watershed.

Organization Name Organization Mission

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross, a humanitarian organization led by volunteers and guided by its Congressional Charter and fundamental principles of the International Red Cross movement, provides relief to victims of disaster and helps people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.

Equinox Ranch

Equinox Ranch provides a program for U.S. combat veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The program's goals are to awaken the mind, body, and spirit of warriors whose traumatic memories and attempts at repressing have left them emotionally numb, volatile, and closed off to the world. The program focuses on building the skills that help veterans readjust to the civilian world and their work, relationships and communities.


SADD empowers and mobilizes students and adult allies to engage in positive change through leadership and smart decision-making.

Vecinos, Inc.

Vecinos is a 501(c)3 nonprofit health care organization serving and advocating for farmworkers and uninsured, low-income adults in western North Carolina.

Organization Name Organization Mission

Haywood Pathways Center

Our Mission is—In Christ’s name, feed the hungry, house the homeless, and reduce recidivism in Haywood County.

Our Vision is—To glorify God by proclaiming and showing love through a Christ-centered ministry that brings life transformation in a safe, accepting, and caring environment.


HOMEBASE is for students who have aged out of foster care and/or residential services, are orphaned, homeless,  emancipated or have little to no support. Ultimately, HOMEBASE is open to all students — no one is turned away. HOMEBASE is a collaboration between Baptist Children's Homes of North Carolina and Western Carolina University. It's purpose is to provide resources and support to all students seeking physical, emotional or spiritual support.

Organization Name Organization Mission

Cornbread & Roses

First and foremost, we are a space for the LGBTQ+ community of Jackson County to feel safe, accepted, and understood. CBR was created by a small group of queer and queer allied community members. CBR offers events, groups, and support services based on requests from our community. Many of the challenges people face in rural areas also affect LGBTQ+ people; food insecurity, lack of access to physical and mental healthcare, and more. We aim to offer a safe space where LGBTQ+ folx in Jackson County (and beyond!) can come together, build community, and get their needs met. 

Sylva Pride

Sylva Pride is dedicated to celebrating and uplifting the experiences of our LGBTQ community throughout western North Carolina.


A science outreach organization committed to spreading love and acceptance through the joy of science.


Education, advocacy, and support for non-binary and transgender people in Western North Carolina

Organization Name Organization Title


ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project) is a nonprofit based in Asheville, North Carolina, serving the Southern Appalachian region. Our mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food.

Circles of Jackson County

Circles of Jackson County’s mission is to provide the short- and long-term support that enables these families to move into self-sustainability. Circles meets weekly to provide educational opportunities and support, as well as a free meal and childcare.

Community Table

The Community Table is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide nutritious meals to our neighbors in need in a welcoming environment. Since 1999, our vision has been that no one in Jackson County, NC goes to bed hungry. We are more than a soup kitchen, more than a food pantry. Through our partnership with MANNA Food Bank, and the with the ongoing support of our community, we are a powerful resource for those in need.

Cullowhee Community Garden

The Cullowhee Community Garden is an organic, allotment plot, donation-based garden. One half of all produce grown is donated through our food relief partner organizations. We have fruit trees and bushes, native wildflowers, shrubs and trees all around the property.

Haywood County Meals on Wheels

To provide nutritious meals, friendly visits, and safety checks that enable homebound seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity through the efforts of staff and volunteers.

Rolling Start

Rolling Start is a non-profit group of car enthusiasts that refurbish donated vehicles that are then given to individuals in need of transportation to help work their way out of poverty in Jackson County, North Carolina.

St. David's Episcopal Church

We are intentionally inclusive, welcoming all people as they are, joined in our search for God as much by our questions as by our answers, by our need to be challenged as much as our need to be comforted, by the knowledge that we meet God in our work as well as in our worship, and by our commitment to serve God by serving others.

Sylva Community Garden

The Community Garden is a 1/3 acre plot of organic garden space in downtown Sylva. Much of the fresh produce is donated either through its incorporation in the meals served by the Community Table or through direct donations to people in need.

Uncomplicated Kitchen

We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in western North Carolina.Through educational outreach, we work to empower our friends and neighbors to cook and grow the nutritious foods they want to eat. Our mission is to teach community members how to plan meals, shop for ingredients, and cook healthy, simple and affordable recipes.We bridge the gap between the food people have access to and the tools and knowledge they have to prepare nutritious meals for themselves and their families.Whether people shop at the farmers market, grocery store, or receive food through charitable organizations, Uncomplicated Kitchen teaches our community that healthy food is affordable and simple. 

United Christian Ministries

An interdenominational crisis ministry, UCM helps Jackson County people who have urgent physical, economic, social, and spiritual needs. UCM offers a client-choice food pantry and financial assistance. UCM also works closely with appropriate county, state, and federal agencies to acquire various forms of aid.

Organization Name Organization Mission

Each summer since 1984 musicians and dancers from across the globe have visited the North Carolina mountain town of Waynesville as part of the Folkmoot International Dance and Music Festival. More than 8,000 international performers from 200 countries have participated through the decades. Now located in the historic Hazelwood School, Folkmoot has transitioned to a year-round cultural center, with a focus on programs and events that celebrate diversity, encourage cultural inclusion, and honor worldwide cultural heritages, especially using dance and music as a tool to achieve world peace.

Organization Name Organization Mission

Jackson County DSS

The Jackson County Department of Social Services' goal is to offer vital social services in Jackson County, NC, that safeguard, bolster, and enhance Jackson County residents' quality of life. Our commitment is to deliver the most outstanding level of service while fostering a culture of professionalism, teamwork, and respect for our customers and the environment in which we operate.

Pisgah Legal Services

We are a nonprofit that provides free civil legal aid to the most vulnerable people in WNC: disadvantaged children, seniors, at risk families & domestic violence victims.

Organization Name Organization Mission
NAACP - Jackson County Branch

The NAACP was founded Feb. 12, 1909 and is the nation's oldest, largest, and most widely recognized grassroots-based civil rights organization. Its more than half-million members and supporters throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in the community, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal rights opportunity in the public and private sectors.

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